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Another letter from DEFRA today informing me to expect a telephone call to come and blood test for................

 National Survey For Brucellosis And Contagious AGALACTIA.

The letter ends: "this Survey is conducted using powers contained in the Animal Health Act1981 and

the diseases of Animals Ascertainment of Disease Order 1985 as amended" 

Could you tell me what AGALACTIA IS?


Answer (from Alan):

Yes, we have been through all this before.  Pre- foot and mouth (1999) we had a similar request from MAFF.  We queried by telephone and were told that our flock had been chose at random as part of a sample of the national flock that were tested each year.

 Being naive at the time, we went along with it and two people turned up on the appointed day to take blood samples from all our sheep.  It was a bit messy, some individuals bled afterwards from the neck puncture and we felt very uncomfortable about it all.  In conversation the technicians let slip that they had just sampled a neighbouring farm that same morning and were going on to another farm in the parish later.  Random samples?

 That prompted us to do some homework.  From publicly available data, we calculated that 86,260 sheep and goat blood samples were taken across the UK to test for diseases that are not, and have never been, present.  Statistically necessary, or jobs for the boys? 

 The sole purpose of these tests is to justify UK "disease-free" status for purposes of international trade.  Sound familiar?

We were disgusted to have been taken in by this scam and will certainly NOT be co-operating with any such nonsense in the future.  It is an entirely pointless and expensive exercise to keep some well-paid individuals employed in completely useless occupation.  Not on our sheep, never again.